Brian Cashman arrived back in the area Thursday afternoon from the GM meetings in the warmth of Arizona, and he was in the cold confines of Yankee Stadium’s Great Hall by early evening. The Yankees’ GM tried out his sleeping bag on the hard floor for the cameras in anticipation of the ninth annual “Covenant House Sleep Out: Executive Edition.”
This executive was dressed in layers for the fundraiser to benefit homeless youth. Cashman had his cell and charger in his coat pocket, just in case he could do some work. He not only had a hard night ahead with more than 200 others, but also a hard job ahead in the coming days and nights to try to get the Yankees to the next step beyond the ALCS where they exited last month.
“We’re just going to gravitate toward anything that might make us better,” Cashman said. “With that said, it’s hard to improve on a 103-win team ... Despite recognizing being what we believe was a play or two away, not necessarily a player or two away, that does not limit our desire and interest and intent to find ways to improve the odds.”
Cashman primarily has a 2020 focus on less injuries and more starting pitching.
“We want to continue to try to address and improve the rotation to get some high-end, quality innings as deep as we possibly can by as many starters as we can,” Cashman said. “That’s despite having an exceptional bullpen.”
He didn’t make any deals while in Scottsdale, but he called it “the beginning.” He communicated with teams and agents, including the agent for the top two prizes in the free-agent pitching market. Scott Boras has Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg as clients. Cashman expressed his interest out therein both to their representation.
“We’re going to make sure we put our educational component of not just the contract and offer,” Cashman said, “but with a lot more than just that and try to make sure they understand what our culture is, the personnel we have here to serve you and the great operation the Steinbrenners allow to be run here.”
Cashman said one of his own free agents, Brett Gardner, has “been a great Yankee. We’d love to have that continue.” Cashman met with Jim Murray, the agent for two more of his free agents, Dellin Betances and Didi Gregorius.
“I can’t tell you it’s less likely or more likely \[for Gregorius to re-sign\],” Cashman said. “I can just tell you Didi was a great player for us. He’s a free agent now. There’s going to be competition for his services. We’ll continue to engage and see if it leads to continuing a relationship or not.”
Austin Romine is another free agent. Cashman met with the catcher’s rep, too. But if Romine departs, Cashman has an in-house replacement to be Gary Sanchez’s backup, Kyle Higashioka.
“We’d be comfortable,” Cashman said. “He’s out of options. We feel he’s ready to go.”